New Delhi: Pratima Bhoumik, the Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment, has accused the Trinamool Congress (TMC) of acting on a plan to malign her home state Tripura, in a bid to cover up its “misdeeds” in West Bengal.
Speaking to ThePrint, Bhoumik said “even the Communists” did not indulge in the kind of violence that the Trinamool Congress under Mamata Banerjee has unleashed in West Bengal and Tripura.
“Since the BJP came to power (in 2018), did you hear of any violence in Tripura before August? Violence came to Tripura this August when the Trinamool Congress came here,” Bhoumik alleged. “They came to Tripura with a plan. The TMC has IPAC (the Prashant Kishor-led Indian Political Action Committee). They are a business, they are not into politics. They play with people’s lives.”
Bhoumik’s offensive against the TMC came hours ahead of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s scheduled meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in which she raised the issue of her party cadres being attacked in Tripura.
Bhoumik, however, denied the TMC’s charge that BJP cadres were involved in the political violence in Tripura.
“The violence is a pre-planned conspiracy to hurt the peaceful environment of the state… The TMC did all this under a plan to malign the image of Tripura,” she alleged. “Our government has been in power since 2018 but never has such violence been reported. Why is it happening now? IPAC and TMC are behind it.”
She also alleged that TMC leaders are “working to a script”.
“They have people from Tollywood to play the whole script. We have nobody from Tollywood or Bollywood,” she said. “The BJP only has people connected to the ground. We don’t know how to do drama. They are attacking us because we are a small state.”
She added that the TMC is looking to distract from its “faults in West Bengal”.
“After the 2 May assembly election results, women were molested in Bengal, BJP workers were attacked and many people were thrown out of their houses. Since the West Bengal government drew criticism over it, it has decided to give Tripura a bad name,” she claimed.
On the TMC’s allegation that BJP was communally polarising Tripura, Bhoumik said, “Who did communal polarisation in West Bengal? Who abducted Hindu women? Who raped them? It seems like West Bengal is Afghanistan. TMC made West Bengal Afghanistan. The TMC will have to account for it. Even the Muslims who voted for the TMC are regretting it now because they are maligning the community. The TMC is attacking Hindus. They are worse than the Taliban.”
‘Mamata a gunda’
Targetting West Bengal Chief minister Mamata Banerjee, the BJP minister said “Mamata is not a politician. She is not a social worker. She is a gunda (thug)”.
When asked why TMC general secretary Abhishek Banerjee was denied permission to hold a rally in Tripura, the Union minister said even BJP leaders were not given permission due to the law and order situation. “We had a mahila morcha rally; I also did not get permission,” she claimed.
Asked to comment on the Supreme Court seeking explanation on the 18 August remark of BJP MLA from Tripura, Arun Chandra Bhaumik, in which he reportedly asked party workers to attack Trinamool leaders in “Talibani style”, the minister said, “The party has already told him we do not endorse such views. But you have to understand the amount of torture TMC has subjected us to. We have BJP governments in other states such as Assam. Have you ever heard of such incidents from there? Why do we hear of such things only where Trinamool is there?”
Pratima Bhoumik said Tripura has democracy, unlike West Bengal, which is why “TMC leaders are able to come here and stay in hotels comfortably”.
“But they are trying to spread anarchy here. Our government is in power in Uttar Pradesh. Do you hear any such incidents there? No. But the kind of gundagardi TMC indulges in is unprecedented,” she said.
On dissent in the Tripura BJP unit, Bhoumik targetted former state health minister Sudip Roy Barman. “Why is he (Barman) talking about such issues now? Why didn’t he raise these issues before? He is not on good terms with the chief minister and that’s why he keeps doing that,” she said.
(Edited by Arun Prashanth)
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